(pack-ee-san' drah)

Common name: Pachysandra, Spurge

Family: Buxaceae, Box

Height x width: 6-8" x 12-18"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: alternate, simple, obovate, toothed above center of leaves, glabrous for terminalis, crowded at ends of stems

Flowers: for terminalis: white, terminal spikes, 1-2" long, not showy

Hardiness: zones 4 or 5-9

Soil: moist, well-drained, organic prefered and pH 5.5-6.5

Light: part to full shade, tolerates sun in the North if sufficient moisture

Pests and Problems: leaf blight, root rot

Landscape habit, uses: groundcover for shade, slopes, native woodland gardens

Other interest: from the Greek words pachys or thick and andros or man, refering to the thick stamens

Other culture: low maintenance

Propagation: division of rooted stems, stem cuttings early in season


Plants are often available as merely the species.

axillaris (ax-ill-lair' iss)--seldom seen species native to China, woody stems to 18" tall, zones 6-9, axillary white flowers in spring

procumbens (pro-cum' bens)--Alleghany Spurge, zones 5-9, native to SE U.S., 9-12", pinkish-white flowers in Spring hidden under leaves near ground, large dull green leaves to 4" long on long petioles, less vigorous than terminalis

stylosa (stii-lo' sah)--native to China, seldom seen species, zones 6-9, leathery light green foliage, short stubby flowers white blushed pink in early spring

terminalis (ter-mi-nal' iss)--main species of commerce and cultivars, native to Japan, zones 4-9, described above for genus

Cultivars: (of terminalis)

Those marked * are the most common in U.S. commerce.
Cultivar foliage other
'Green Carpet' dark green 6" tall, compact
*'Green Sheen' "polished" green  
'Silver Edge' thin silver-white margins  
'Variegata' irregularly white variegated slow

(Green Sheen photo courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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